West Virginia Mountaineers Make Staff Changes for 2013

By Mike Atkinson
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers have already begun to transform their coaching staff for the 2013 football season with the hiring of Lonnie Galloway, Tony Gibson and Brian Mitchell.

Each coach brings his own strengths and weaknesses to the WVU staff. I’d like to examine each coach and talk specifically about what he will bring to the program, be it good or bad.

Listed below are the three coaches and whether or not each is a notable hire, or a questionable hire.

Lonnie Galloway– Wide Receivers Coach

We’ll begin with what I consider to be the best hire of the offseason for the Mountaineers. Galloway is definitely a notable hire.

Galloway coached the Mountaineers under Bill Stewart from 2008-2010 and now returns to coach for 2013.

Galloway’s greatest strength is that he is a very strong recruiter. This man was responsible for recruiting a small back from Baltimore, MD named Tavon Austin. He was also responsible for bringing in a man who is currently starting defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, Bruce Irvin.

Aside from the recruiting advantage he will bring WVU, he is also a bit of a strategist, which gives his offense, specifically, receivers, a step up on the field.

This is a huge hire considering WVU lost all three of its offensive stars from 2012. It will take great coaching to keep the offense competitive, especially with quarterbacks coach Jake Spatival recently departed.

Tony Gibson– Defensive Backs/Safeties Coach

To call Tony Gibson a questionable hire could be the understatement of the year. There is no way to explain how bad of a hire this actually is.

WVU finished 2012 with the 112th pass defense in the country. It showed poor play from the defensive backs all season, getting torched for large amounts of yardage each game. Gibson, in 2012, with the Arizona Wildcats led the defensive backs to the 111th pass defense.

When former WVU coach Daron Roberts announced he would be leaving, WVU fans everywhere were excited to see who his replacement would be.

Then, Morgantown as a whole gasped and fell silent when Gibson was announced. See, Gibson has a bit of a history at WVU.

Ellis Lankster cornerback for the New York Jets, played for Gibson at WVU from 2008-2009.

He said Gibson “really didn’t care what you did, but he still wanted you to make plays.”

Does that sound like a good coach? Gibson failed with WVU, the Michigan Wolverines, the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Arizona Wildcats and now he’s back at WVU.

The only positive with this hire is that Gibson has a knack for recruiting in the Western Pennsylvania area.

Brian Mitchell– Defensive Backs/Safeties Coach

Brian Mitchell struggled as a defensive coordinator with the East Carolina Pirates in 2012. However, with the Texas Tech Red Raiders from 2005-2007 led the best defense in the Big 12, as a defensive backs coach.

Mitchell is a notable hire in my opinion.

That being said, the 2013 offensive staff for WVU looks pretty solid. Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson will be returning to team up with offensive minded head coach Dana Holgorsen. Keep in mind, the Mountaineers did lose quarterbacks coach Jake Spatival.

Defensively, the staff could be better. I don’t like the Gibson hire and Mitchell is solid, but with the Co-defensive coordinator thing still happening with Joe Deforest and Keith Patterson, I’d be surprised if the WVU defense is much better in 2013 than in 2012.

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS or visit his Rant Sports Author Page.

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